What People Think Of Me
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When we talk about mental illnesses we are talking about psychological going-ons in our brains. Few are able to get their mind around the fact that the one thing that makes our body work and that keeps us alive can also kill us at the same time that it is trying to preserve our life. Our brain can literally be two different ‘individuals’. These individuals that our brain invents can be both similar and not so similar making what IS two individuals controlling our brain look like one.
The things that one is found doing when they are mentally ill are things that society truly does look down upon. These things are activities, thoughts, and actions that do not and may never conform to society norms, family expectations, friend expectation, and in all faucets of life. We change and people get to decide if they will be able to love us after our traumatic experience with a diagnosis or if they will leave us. Because I am bipolar I am going to talk in a way that is most familiar to me. Traditions usually will make or break a friendship such as Polish culture if a friend is diagnosed with a mental illness. We cannot break up traditions over our diagnosis, but we can show people the real you and will dedicate your life for speaking up who are just beginning their battle with an illness.
I have mentioned a million times what I did when I was sick and because of it most friends think of me as crazy. I have emails and have had encounters with many where this has been obvious. I am sure many readers have had similar experiences. I unfortunately loved one guy and did a lot of lying because no man would like a crazy girlfriend. He was not the only guy that I lied to EMMENCELY. I ended up ruining relationships with my parents for most of my life because I thought they were lame, horrible, too strict, and didn’t know what I wanted in life. I lied to my friends about fake boyfriends, and life experiences. I lied to random people like a checkout lady in a store. When the truth comes out that we have been doing something that no one approves of, or we are found doing something that no one expected us of doing it is often life threatening to us. For me it was. I began to see reality as some false perfect world where people liked me and where my life was set up for success.
‘Coming out’ with my truth of who I am and what I did was hard. Many people that I thought would understand didn’t. That my friend is the stigma of something like a mental illness. I know what people are most likely thinking of me. I know what my parents thought of me after the truth came out that I was using Facebook illegally and irresponsibly. I know what my friends most likely think of me, especially the guy that I liked, and several other men that I liked who got lied to. Happiness for me was in relationships, in people, in food, in animals, but most of all in ignoring what reality truly was for me.
People cannot envision our lives getting so bad that we would do something like create a different world in our head. How can that be possible? Being one that has done it, it actually just starts without you being aware of it. This change that our brain can make surprisingly is able to do damage and act like the damage is normal. Because people are not able to relate to one that is so called ‘crazy’ they often will believe what they believe mentally ill as being.
Why should we care what others are thinking about us? Because at the end of the day something like illegal activity on Facebook, having sex with multiple partners, drinking, and other worrisome activities are things that we need to stay away from when we are well again. The impact of people thinking that what we have done in our past in a negative way is beneficial to our recovery and what we need to find is a way to accept what we are going through and move on with life, throwing out people who do not believe that we can become who we want to become. We do not deserve, and should not ever feel bad for being who we are even with our mistakes, even if they are huge. If we get arrested that is not good, but I believe we all have different brains and there is a time when we should be able to make a good decision even if we doubt ourselves. Everyday is a new day. We are told this when we were in preschool and it is very cheesy, but there is a truth to the expression.
Everyday we wake up, see who we are, know what we have ahead of us, and know what we have done ‘yesterday’ or in the past and we have a chance, every NEW day to turn around our life in one manner. This is why we should take a persons negative comment and our negative thoughts with a grain of salt. A traumatic experience is purely traumatic because it takes us away from any confidence that we had in ourselves, and convinces us so fast that we are worth nothing compared to everyone else in the world and in our lives. We cannot care what others think of us or how we look to others. That is the gift of being imperfect. It is even a bigger gift to welcome our imperfect self into this world when we have been a totally different individual when we were so sick. To not care what society thinks of us, or what a guy thinks of us is the key to heaven. Not many people get a chance to really turn their life around, and to see the world in another perspective. We have to use what is giving us so much trauma to our advantage. This takes time, but once you figure out what you have that many do not than you are on the road to recovery.
What a person thinks of us combined with us bathing in imperfection is what a person should truly feel as they live life. We always have to find ourselves in our daily activities, our happiness, but also an exposed part of us that many in this world are not able to show. This my friend is what trauma does to us if we look at it in a recovery perspective.
Great things have not come from ordering fast food. Great things come when you suck at cooking but you continue to improve your soufflé to French perfection and when you are always willing to make the soufflé better every time. Every time baking this soufflé makes you feel good, but what makes you happy is that you are simply cooking something. It doesn’t matter if it tastes bad if we have failed on a certain day, and it doesn’t matter if it succeeds. What is more fun for you is the adventure that you have to travel to get to the end product. We always have to have the devils advocate and the angel on each shoulder because imperfection and success are not separate ideals but one separate ideal that can only be made if the other is present.
Be who you want to be. Stop asking people who they think you are meant to become or what they think of you. When I get down I always know that I am the only one that is named Susanna Page and that no one has the genetic make up that I do. I may not be a Victoria Secret Model but that Victoria Secret Model that I admired in the mall this weekend does not wear my name and has not lived my life. A life to many that may seem lame when in fact it is quite original, especially after I have lived through the worst traumas in my life.
- Susan Page